There is compelling evidence the German prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann killed her but it cannot be shared with the public, German prosecutors said on Tuesday.
“If you knew the evidence we had you would come to the same conclusion as I do,” Hans Christian Wolters, the prosecutor in charge of the case told the BBC.
“But I can’t give you details because we don’t want the accused to know what we have on him — these are tactical considerations.”
Christian Brückner, a 43-year-old convicted paedophile and rapist, was named as a suspect in the toddler’s disappearance in June.
But German prosecutors have yet to charge him in connection with the case and say that while they have evidence it is not yet enough to secure a conviction.
“I can’t promise, I can’t guarantee that we have enough to bring a charge but I’m very confident because what we have so far doesn’t allow any other conclusion at all,” Mr Wolters told the BBC.
Madeleine McCann disappeared from the holiday villa where she was staying with her family in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007. She was three years old at the time.
Mr Wolters has previously admitted that without further evidence charges may never be brought against Brückner over her disappearance.
Last month, an internal Portuguese police memo leaked to the press described its officers as “shocked” after a briefing from German counterparts. Portuguese police left the meeting convinced German prosecutors have “no evidence, just speculation” and were determined to “keep Brückner in prison at all costs”.
A career criminal, Brückner is currently serving a 21-month sentence for drug offences. He will remain behind bars when that ends in January, after losing an appeal against a separate seven-year sentence for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman in the same area of Portugal where Madeleine went missing.
Mr Wolters told the BBC current investigations have uncovered new evidence Brückner committed three other sex crimes during his time in Portugal, two of them against children. He said he hopes to bring charges in connection with these alleged offences next year.
Lawyers for Brückner insist he is innocent.